What temporary taxes have been abolished?

Inspired by this thread, I’m wondering what taxes have been imposed on the populace in the spirit it would be temporary?

There are plenty (see the linked thread as I’m sure it will grow) that have been passed by promising they were only going to be in effect until the end-goal was acheived. Yet they stick around. Year, after year, after years!

So what taxes have been imposed as temporary that actually aren’t around?

NOTE: I’m looking for taxes imposed or sold on the fact they were only temporary to pay for a specific cause. I realize things like the poll tax are gone, but that’s not what I’m looking for.

I’m looking for municipal/county/state/Federal taxes implemented for a specific cause, and only for that cause/funding, that was repealed when the project was done.

The primary “temporary cause” undertaken by the federal government through most of our history has been war, and many taxes have been imposed to wage it–some of which lapsed and some of which didn’t.

The first episode involved the undeclared naval war with France during the Adams administration. The ruling Federalists imposed a raft of new taxes to pay for it, including a federal property tax on land, buildings, and slaves, and excises on sugar, salt, tobacco, and alcohol. After the crisis passed and the opposition Republicans won the election of 1800, most of these taxes were repealed.

Similar taxes were imposed to pay for the War of 1812, and most had expired by 1817.

During the Civil War, federal property taxes were imposed once again, and also a federal income tax. All had been repealed by 1869.

With the coming of the permanent income tax in 1913, there has been less need for special-purpose federal taxes, because revenues can be manipulated more easily by jockeying rates up and down. World War I was financed by increasing the top marginal tax rate “temporarily” to 77%; it was lowered to 25% after the Republican landslide in 1920. So in this case no taxes were repealed, but rates were lowered–albeit not back to prewar levels.

It was a similar story during World War II and Vietnam. During Vietnam, the Johnson administration imposed a special surtax–a tax on a tax, which was equivalent to raising marginal tax rates–which expired in 1971.

I couldn’t begin to answer the question at the state and local level. The variety of state and local levies is endless.

I don’t know if it is considered a tax, but in Norfolk/Virginia Beach there was a toll road that ran from I-64 to a few blocks short of the beach (can’t remember what they called it, I hadn’t been in town very long). Apparently when the road was put in, the tolls were put in to pay for construction and maintenance and the politicos pledged that once it was paid for, the tolls would come down. Many years later (10? 15? I don’t remember, it was before my time there) the governor of VA at the time declared that the road had well been paid for and a good bit socked away for maintenance and had the tolls removed. There was much handwringing and moaning (mainly from the politicos that got money from the project), but the tolls came down, and the road was re-christened as officially part of I-44.

I’m pretty hazy on the specifics, and I may have some of the details above wrong, so hopefully some Beach doper can come along and correct me :slight_smile:

San Antonio, Texas, passed an increase in local sales tax to pay for building the Alamo Dome. It was repealed when the dome was paid for. I think there are many more examples like this on the local level, but I recall this one because I clearly remember saying something cynical about it never getting repealed when they passed it and I was wrong.

I’m proud of my home state of Connecticut for eliminating highway tolls after the bonds used to build them were paid off, so that the whole state is toll-free. (Another impetus was a terrible accident when a tractor-trailer lost its brakes and plowed into the tollbooths, killing several people.)

Not much to correct. There were similar tolls on the Midtown tunnel (between Norfolk and Portsmouth) and on the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. All of those are gone now.

The tolls came off of the Norfolk-Virginia Beach Expressway, also known as SR 44, in the mid-'80s. It was later made an extension of I-264, which is the road that 44 ran into once you drove past the last toll exit (Newton Road.)

Someone in Dallas can correct me if I am wrong, I believe the Rangers ballpark was paid for by a tax increase, which was repealed because they generated more tax revenue than expected and paid the thing off.

The 18% Johnstown Flood tax is a particularly egregious example of a tax that never went away. But honestly if they repealed it tomorrow, it would be replaced by the Pennsylvania Legislative Pay Increase Tax or some other asinine thing. Government has an insatiable appetite for cash and unlimited power to take it from you. And this particular tax has never been repealed because no one really gives a rat’s patootie about those of us who enjoy our booze. Its more politically convenient to give some child tax credits when politicians are in a tax cutting mood.

Doesn’t really matter to me since I get a better deal and selection in Delaware. Kiss my butt Johnstown! 70 years of taxes and you’re still a dump!

Weren’t they found unconstitutional rather than repealed?

The Supreme Court declared an income tax that was part of the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act unconstitutional in 1895 in the case of Pollock v. The Farmers’ Loan and Trust Co.

There were various attempts to get an income tax in place in the early part of the 20th Century, but eventually the 16th Amendment was needed.

No, the Civil War-era income tax was allowed to expire before the Supreme Court ruled on its constitutionality. (Correction to my above post–it actually lingered on until 1872, not 1869.) When SCOTUS did finally rule, in 1880 (the law moving no faster then than now), it sustained the tax in the case of Springer v. United States.

Then, in 1894, Congress enacted a new income tax, and the Supreme Court changed its mind and struck it down in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust.

Yeah, but the bastards didn’t get around to it until * after * I had pissed away days of my precious youth waiting in the traffic that would back up over the Housatonic river near the Stratford toll.